File - View of the headquarters building of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in London, UK, 24 July 2013. (Imaginechina via AP Images)
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Pharmaceutical industry insiders say dubious business practices are widespread in the Lebanon's drugs sector following an announcement by a British company that it was investigating bribery allegations in Jordan and Lebanon.GlaxoSmithKline is the United Kingdom's largest drug firm and has recently been beset by controversy for allegedly bribing doctors in exchange for favoring their pharmaceutical products. Pharmaceutical industry insiders interviewed by The Daily Star said that while full-on bribery was uncommon in Lebanon, a number of shady strategies are employed by pharmaceutical companies to push their products both locally and abroad. The process starts when doctors are approached by pharmaceutical representatives attempting to market a product.Doctors are influenced in various ways.Another insider interviewed said that some doctors would unashamedly try to play two pharmaceutical companies off against one another.The practice is also illegal for American companies under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.Local companies, on the other hand, have "very loose" records, said H.D., an employee at a multinational.Local companies or companies from "other third world countries" were also accused of marketing subpar generic drugs as being equal to brand names, said S.M. a two-year veteran at a multinational.
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